We are Kiran Hothi & Sonam Kaur, co-founders of NotYourWife.
NotYourWife is a new media company centred around amplifying the voices of South Asian women and discussing the experiences of diasporic South Asians. Through a combination of articles, events, workshops and social media platforms, we are committed to sharing the untold stories of South Asian women and ‘third culture kids’ growing up in the diaspora. The name of our platform is a ‘tongue-in-cheek’ reference to the cultural stereotype attached to South Asian women. In just eight months, our fast-growing platform has gained a following of over 28,000 individuals on social media (Instagram: NotYourWife__), reaches just under half a million individuals on a weekly basis and has over 70 individuals within its contributor community (www.not-your-wife.com). We were named ‘Top Female Entrepreneurs to watch in 2021’ and have recently been featured on CNN & The Independent.
Did you ever sit down and plan your career?
Truthfully, no, although we’ve both always been highly motivated, and driven. Throughout the years, we’ve followed what has genuinely interested us in the workplace, and that’s led to a range of opportunities both professionally and personally. Our progress throughout the creative and corporate worlds (we come from Marketing and Finance backgrounds respectively), and then later in founding NotYourWife has been largely organic in that sense. Being open to new opportunities, having a good attitude and a willingness to learn can lead to moments of ‘career serendipity’ (unplanned, fortunate discovery!); something that a rigid career plan won’t provide.
What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?
There’s probably two major factors we can pick out. The first is consistency – without a doubt; we feel as though this is one of the most underrated and overlooked qualities of success. The second is passion – we’re truly passionate about the work we do at NotYourWife, because it’s THE platform we wished we’d have had growing up; we’ve received thousands of pieces of individual feedback from South Asians across the diaspora which proves to us just how necessary this platform is to us and our community. It’s this passion that keeps us motivated when faced with any challenges.
How do you feel about mentoring? Have you mentored anyone or are you someone’s mentee?
We’re extremely passionate about social mobility and have both acted as both mentors and mentees since university. Even if you don’t have a formalised mentoring programme in the workplace, we’d really encourage you to seek one out; there’s some amazing materials online that can help with this. Finding the right fit can take some time, so don’t feel discouraged if someone isn’t the right fit for you the first time around. It’s 100% worth it though – the formal and informal knowledge you receive along the way can be invaluable – and we’d encourage you to pass it on later down the line. One of our favourite quotes is ‘Build a longer table, not a taller fence’.
If you could change one thing to accelerate the pace of change for Gender Equality, what would it be?
So many firms are making amazing strides for Gender Equality at a C-Suite Level; and it’s wonderful to see increased representation at that Senior Level. We think that in order to accelerate the pace of change, companies now need to be implementing the same methods conducted at Leadership levels at the early to mid-stage levels. This means ensuring gender balanced promotions, making middle-management accountable for gender equality in the same way leadership teams are and ensuring more equally weighted opportunities. One of our long-term missions is to increase opportunities and representation for South Asian women.
If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self what would it be?
Stop assuming things aren’t attainable for you – if you don’t go for what you want, you’ll never get it!
What is next for you, and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?
We have some really exciting brand partnerships already lined up for this year – watch this space! We’re also growing our community of contributors, so we’re featuring and surfacing stories from an even more diverse range of women across the diaspora (on topics including lifestyle, identity, beauty, career and more!). One of the things we’re most looking forward to, and hoping to achieve in the near future is running some of our events in-person (Zoom has been amazing to facilitate these in the interim, but we’d love for our community to finally connect in real life!)
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